Hanging on a red herring: @burgewords reviews #PicnicAtHangingRock

The answer to what drew Miss McGraw to follow the girls up the rock that timeless afternoon was always there, it’s just that others decided we were not prepared for it. FORTY years since the premier of the Peter Weir film, it’s time for Australians to realise that Picnic at Hanging Rock has kept us completely fooled for five decades. This evocative screen mystery burst into our consciousness the same spring that the constitutional crisis of the last months of the Whitlam government left Australians in an altered state. The original novel by Joan Lindsay was similarly about the impact of sudden change. When three schoolgirls and a governess do […]

The making of a #MarriageEquality advocate: @burgewords extract

IRELAND’S yes vote for marriage equality kicked a rainbow-coloured goal for LGBTQI people around the globe, and while the major Australian political parties fight for ownership of the ball, this extract from an upcoming non-fiction podcast and book by MICHAEL BURGE is a reminder of how far we’ve come. Marriage, like a seed, was planted within me as a concept. IN the lead up to the 2004 federal election the issue of same-sex marriage hit the media. The year prior, various provinces followed Ontario’s lead in Canada and allowed same-sex marriages to take place. Many Australians availed themselves of this legislation since it did not require the couples to be residents, but […]

The #Gough political legacy and the vision thing: @sarah_capper column

Reading over the tributes to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, who passed away last week, it’s difficult to write a tribute to such a great political giant without admitting that I wasn’t alive when Whitlam was in office. Growing up a decade later in the 80s, in a politically conservative household in the politically conservative state of Queensland, Whitlam was the stuff of folklore. I have memories of Bob Hawke as PM being yelled at during the nightly news, being told Keating was the ‘devil’, while Gough was supposedly the ‘worst Prime Minister in history’. In wanting to reject a lot of this conservative backdrop, and indeed the throws of […]

The man who dismissed dismissal: @burgewords #CreatingWaves on #GoughWhitlam

  Gough Whitlam got conservatives in Australia on the move in the late 1960s and they have never stopped running. IT took me almost half my lifetime to work out what I owe Gough Whitlam. The second son of a NSW grazier and a nurse from Sydney’s north shore who gave up her career to have kids, I was a five-year-old when Whitlam was dismissed. At twelve I was given a fearful lesson on what would happen if the Australian Labor Party ever got back into power, which consisted of a darkly-uttered statement: They’ll spend all the money the country has, just like they did under Gough. By then my family was a victim of the D-word […]